Friday, May 18, 2007

I am tired of being a white woman.

I am tired of being a white woman,
and having to apologize
for the English I learned
to write in big looping letters
on rough brown paper, for fluency
as natural as dancing,
for semicolons, conjugations,
and the dizzying vocabulary
I needed for the SAT.

I am tired of being a white woman,
and having to tell the story
of my great-grandfather
arriving at Ellis Island,
shipped straight from Terceira,
where Baptista troubles
no tongues, not like this valley,
where everyone wants to know
if I'm from Oaxaca or Quintana Roo.

I am tired of being a white woman,
and having to mark boxes
that lie, that want to paint
my olive arms and dark eyes
a transparent, raceless nothing,
that mark me oppressor, fiend,
so that admissions committees
can write me off as someone
who cannot bring diversity.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Gosh, Josh (after Ryan Adams)

As a girl, I've never had use for chivalry.
I'm as stubborn as frozen molasses
and maybe as plucky.
I can afford my own dinners;
in that way I am really lucky,
but gosh, Josh, i love when you open doors.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007


Lint collects in the cavern at the center
of my abdomen, brown and blue, the colors
of recently-worn shirts. I think maybe
if I dialed my belly button instead

of my cell phone, my mother and I could never
lose signal in bad weather. That pulsing lifeline,
removed by doctors who know no better
than nature what kinds of scars we need,

used to hold the two of us so close
that she could feel my every kick, my liquid
sighs; now, all that remains of those days
of swelling life is this umbilicus,

this dark innie that marks the quadrants
of my adult body and is the grave
of that one cord, that vital string
through which we shared our blood.